Mimosa 200It's not actually "5G" but it delivers great speed, is commercial today, cheap, doesn't need expensive mmWave, and beats Verizon to market. Impressive. From a customer's home near Fremont, George Ginis's Sail Internet used the Mimosa PtMP radio in Wi-Fi spectrum.  I know the people and the technology and believe it works. I just didn't know the products were ready.

George, a friend, just tweeted, "My favorite moment at work is when I run a speed test like this - from a customer's home served by a PtMP radio." Image at left and larger below.

Of course, this isn't "5G" in a meaningful sense. The Mimosa gear is essentially a souped up 4x4 802.11ac Wi-Fi with some special sauce.  

The performance is close to what's promised for 5G, so I can understand why the company makes the claim. The system design is very similar to Verizon's, including control from the cloud. They use 5 GHz spectrum instead of 28 GHz. 802.11ac is the Wi-Fi variation that can go over a gigabit directly point to point.  Mimosa, Ubiquiti, and others have proven that with the right antennas and good line of sight, the Wi-Fi signals can go kilometers. They are using the latest chips, possibly Quantenna, and adding what they call SRS to squeeze more performance. PtMP is "point to multipoint." A single transmitter can connect to multiple homes, bringing down the cost per home.

Point to multi-point wireless, like 5G, is a shared service. The performance will go down if the node is congested. George writes me they are selling the offering as 200 megabits. Chipmakers have promised higher performance in the next year or two, which will provide some reserve.

802.11ac uses 80 MHz of spectrum to reach these speeds. It's wide open now but even a few systems like this can cause congestion. Mimosa's cloud controllers can mitigate that, but Wi-Fi itself does not have good congestion control. Performance as more use the Wi-FI, some Mimosa and some not, is to be proven. 

This is a more advanced version of the equipment used by WISPs and others to serve millions of homes around the world. The WISPs generally charge $40-70/month; offerings like this in volume shouldn't be much more expensive. 

5G mmWave fixed wireless, like Verizon is building, is a much more complicated system. Starry in Boston, building their own version of PtMP for mmWave, is also targeting low prices. Both use millimeter wave, expensive and more limited in distance. By most definitions, mmWave is "5G" but Wi-Fi isn't. But marketing people have made the term "5G" almost meaningless. The proof is in the performance.

Mimosa has a sophisticated cloud system to manage everything. There are several ideas on how to coordinate Wi-Fi for better performance. This is how the company describes what they are using.

"Leveraging technology advancements in Massive MIMO and antenna beamforming, Mimosa’s proprietary Spectrum Reuse Synchronization (SRS) technology adds an even more powerful dimension to scale wireless networks with expanded capacity and bandwidth. Precise time coordination of transmissions network‑wide eliminates the interference caused by nearby radios, allowing a single access point (AP) to efficiently reuse channels rather than wasting spectrum to avoid interference."

George Ginis is a Stanford Ph.D. who did pioneering work on DSL vectoring. Brian Hinman and Jamie Fink's 2Wire sold millions of home gateways to companies like AT&T.  Hinman before that led PictureTel Corporation and Polycom. They have numerous patents and are well known in the field.

I'd be very happy with 300/300 if it were brought here.

Mimosa 650

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon will turn on the first $20B 5G mmWave network, soon offering a gigabit or close to 30M homes. The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while keeping capex at around 15%.

The Koreans, Chinese, and almost all Europeans are not doing mmWave in favor of mid-band "5G," with 4G-like performance. Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 10X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year. I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

The predicted massive small cell builds are a pipe dream for vendors for at least five years. Verizon expects to reach a quarter of the U.S. without adding additional small cells. 

In the works: Enrique Blanco and Telefonica's possible mmWave disruption of Germany; Believe it or don't: 5G is cheap because 65% of most cities can be covered by upgrading existing cells; Verizon is ripping out and replacing 200,000 pieces of gear expecting to save half. 

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 5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.